Verity has written about Persephone’s wonderful non-fiction titles, but I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned the poetry yet.
And then there are two collections of verse.
There’s Consider the Years by Virginia Graham, a wonderfully readable and evocative collection of verse about England between 1938 and 1945. Momentous years! I’m wending my way through the pages and I’ll write more when I’m done.
I’ve only flipped through It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty by Judith Viorst, but I can already see that it is a gem. It dates from the late 1960s and is a wonderful, frequently darkly comic, record of those times.
I’m disappointed that it’s one review on LibraryThing suggests that it is a volume that will date badly and soon disappear. My impression so far is that it succeeds in being both of its time and timeless.
Here is one poem that I think stands up wonderfully. In fact, it reminds me of a particular friend of my mother – she’s a lovely lady, but she has one particular trait …
IDA, THE ONE WHO SUFFERS
Whatever happens to me
Has already happened to Ida the one who suffers,
And with complications,
And her surgeon says it’s a miracle she survived,
And her team of lawyers is suing for half a million,
And her druggist gave a gasp when he read the prescription,
And her husband never saw such courage,
Because (though it may sound like bragging) she’s not a complainer,
Which is why the nurse was delighted to carry her bedpan,
And her daughter flew in from the sit-in to visit,
And absolute strangers were begging to give blood donations,
And the man from Prudential even had tears in his eyes,
Because (though it may sound like bragging) everyone loves her,
Which is why both of her sisters were phoning on day rates from Denton,
And her specialist practically forced her to let him make house calls,
And the lady who lean insisted on coming in Sundays,
And the cousins have cancelled the Cousins Club meeting,
And she’s almost embarassed to mention how many presents
Keep arriving from girlfriends who love her all over the country,
All of them eating their hearts out with worry for Ida,
The one who suffers
The way other people
And finally, of course, there are the endpapers. These are based on a 1960s Liberty print, and they provide a wonderful burst of warmth and colour after the subtlety of the dove-grey jacket.